Ireland is divided into 32 counties, the Northern part of Ireland has 6 counties and County Tyrone is one of them. In the Irish language, it is called “Tír Eoghain” which means “land of Eoghan”. The name “County Tyrone” is coming from ‘Tyrone’ the Gaelic kingdom which survived till the 17th century.
The county lies on the shores of the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles, Lough Neagh. With all the significant history every county in Ireland has, County Tyrone has great importance itself especially when it comes to beautiful sceneries and pop culture. So, here you can know your way around some of the most interesting treasures in the County.
The Stone Circles in Beaghmore
The stone circles and cairns in Beaghmore are one of the most mysterious places around Ireland which date back to the Bronze Age. In fact, no one knows for sure why it existed in the first place or what the purpose of it was. Yet the secrecy of it and the special location attract curious people and those who are interested in paranormal things.
The circles’ location extends for around 10 miles towards the northwestern direction of Cookstown. Exactly in the southeastern part of the Sperrin Mountains. The spot was discovered in the 1940s during a peat cutting. The site contains seven stone circles, six of them are said to be paired. It also contains ten stone rows and tens of round cairns of which some of them has human bone remains buried under them.
You can tell the difference between the single circle and paired circles by the size. Paired circles are a bit bigger than the single one. The interior of the single circle is also very unique as it has more than 800 small stone gathered inside of it. Which is the reason why it’s called “the dragon teeth”.
Some would think this is just space with some stone placed in a certain order, what’s so special about it?! Well, we said it’s considered an attraction to those who are interested in weird and mysterious spots. The nature of the site actually suggests it was a place where people in the past had either social or religious gatherings to perform certain rituals.
Some archaeologists have a different theory, they believe these circles have been formed with some mysterious relationship with the sun when it reaches the highest or the lowest point in the sky (solstice). Or maybe it has some relationship with the movements of the sun and the moon.
Interestingly, three of the stone rows are places towards the direction of the sunrise at the solstice. While others are placed towards the direction of the moonrise at the solstice too. But there is nothing more discovered regarding these placements so there is not much known about it.
Some people say the human bone remains there belong to children. Some said they heard children’s voices while visiting. Others said they felt a children’s existence touching their hands. Other stories report that they felt weird energy in the site.
Whether these stories are true or just affected by the mysterious spirit of the site, it would definitely be an interesting experience to pay the stone circles in County Tyrone a visit. So don’t wait, go discover the secrets of the spot yourself!
Discover the Sperrin Mountains
The name “Sperrin” refers to the Irish word ‘Speirín’ which means “little pinnacle”. The Sperring Mountains, in fact, are the biggest high land spots in Ireland. Those mountains extend between both County Tyrone and County Londonderry. Due to its importance and breathtaking sceneries, the region is considered an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with a population of approximately 150,000 people living around it.
Well, thanks to the Ice Age, now we get to see different magnificent views there. From the stunning valleys of Owenkillew and Glenelly to Barnes Gap and Gortin Glen. The ice during the Ice Age refined all of this was to leave us with the breathtaking views we are seeing now around the region. One can see those beautiful views of Errigal and Muckish from far away, it can actually be seen from County Donegal.
There are four driving roads among the Sperrin Mountains of which one can enjoy magnificent landscapes and historical views. That makes the area a perfect spot for road trips. Interestingly, National Geographic listed the routes of the Sperrin Mountains among its Top 101 Scenic Drives in the World. According to National Geographic, the Sperrin Mountains have “wild beauty, ideal trails, and dreamy villages”.
The area of The Sperrin Mountains is also the perfect spot for taking long walks and enjoying the natural sceneries. It is also popular for parachuting, horse-riding, and gliding. If you’re there, you might also give the Stone Circles at Beaghmore a visit, they are close. There are many forest and river trails nearby as well. Those trails can be used to enjoy a walk or some time cycling maybe.
Travel Back into America’s Presidential History
As The Sperrin Mountains and their beautiful natural spots are pretty much dominating a big part of County Tyrone. There’s also an interesting history that lies within the Sperrin Mountains. There, you can actually explore a part of America’s presidential history.
In a surprising combination, at County Tryone you can actually travel back in time and discover some of America’s history and the ‘White House’. By paying a visit to Wilson Ancestral Home, you get to learn about how a local man named James Wilson had a part in shaping the destiny of the United States’ 28th Presidency.
This white cottage standing on the downhills of the Sperrin Mountains is where Judge James Wilson lived. In fact, James Wilson is the grandfather of America’s 28th President Woodrow Wilson, who led America through World War I (1914 – 1918). Woodrow served as the President of the United States from 1913 to 1921. James Wilson left this house standing on the slopes of the Sperrins and immigrated to the United States. And if it wasn’t for him leaving, who knows, his grandson might have never been the President to the United States during that crucial time!
The cottage actually still holds many of the family’s original belongings. That includes furniture, for example, and a small bed. If you’re visiting, you’ll find a portrait of Judge James Wilson, the President’s grandfather close to the fireplace in the house.
Speaking of visiting, yes the place is open to the public! There are guided tours that usually take place in July and August. It’s important to mention that the opening hours are not fixed and can change from time to time, so it’s better if you call in advance and make sure you know the recent opening hours.
Gortin Glen Forest Park
Six miles away from the western direction of the Sperrin Mountains in County Tyrone stands Gortin Glen Forest Park. The forest park is open since the year 1967. The different trails at the park give you the opportunity to enjoy plenty of the natural fauna and flora there. In fact, the park is the first forest park built in a pure coniferous forest.
The forest park has an exceptional drive route which extends for 5 miles and actually offers distinctive sceneries. So you get to enjoy plenty of pleasant views without even getting out of the car.
Besides the enjoyable car journey, visitors can enjoy many activities at the forest park. Those activities include walking, biking up the mountain, and sometimes horse-riding though this requires permission. Visitors can also enjoy the experience of the camping there at the Gorten Glin Forest Park and maybe enjoy some BBQ time.
The forest park has many facilities including car parks for sure. Moreover, the forest park opens on a daily basis from 10 am until sunset. There are around five walking trails at the forest park that are colour-coded and one of them actually has a cool name! The one with the cool name is ‘Robbers Table’, this walking trail extends for 8.1 miles of hill walking which offers amazing views.
There is ‘Gortin Forest Nature Trail’, this trail extends for 1.25 miles and it offers a nice walk in the forest. There is also ‘Gortin Forest Pollan Trail’, this trail extends for 1.5 miles and offers a pleasant walk through the trails in the forest. If you’re up for a walk up the hills, there is ‘Gortin Forest Ladies View’ trail which extends for 2.25 miles and will offer you a nice walking experience. And there is the smallest of the trails, ‘Gortin Lakes’, which actually offers a walk around the forest lakes and extends for 0.6 miles.
So in case, this seems interesting to you, and it should be interesting!! An adventure around natural sceneries, mountains, lakes, and BBQ parties! Who would say no to that?! So if you’re near County Tyrone now or visiting soon, start planning for your visit to Gorten Glin Forest Park!
Visit the Ulster American Folk Park
The Ulster American Park is among the places you should check out in County Tyrone. The park is considered as an open museum. This open museum is standing in Omagh, County Tyrone. Discover the stories and secrets of the Irish folks who immigrated thousands of years ago to America across the Atlantic. Stroll around cottages made of thatch and log cabins.
The park is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and from Saturday to Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm. Your visit to the Ulster American Folk Park will not just help you unravel many stories and secrets but it will also give you the chance to try some of their good food!
Revive your inner explorer with the 30 different constructions and exhibits. It’s not just a place for individual explorers, that’s also a place for families as there are plenty of activities. Your visit to Ulster American Park gives you the opportunity to step on a replica of the ship of which immigrants took to travel back to their homes hundreds of years ago.
Everything at the Ulster American Folk Park is unique and different, even the celebrations of the Independence Day on the 4th of July there at the park are celebrated differently. If you’re close to County Tyrone around the 4th of July, it would perfect to go and enjoy the different celebrations.
The Park offers a good service to its visitors and unique hospitality. During your visit, you can take a break and enjoy coffee, tea and cold drink in the nice weather and the perfect setting. Especially during the time of Christmas as well as the New Year’s holidays.
Enjoy the Musical Experience of Bluegrass Festival
Visiting County Tyrone around September is always a fun experience. It’s the time of the year where the one the biggest music festivals in the region, The Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival, takes place in the Ulster American Folk Park. Pack your stuff and get ready for three days of an awesome musical experience from across Europe and North America.
The award-winning Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival is actually the largest music festival outside of North America. The festival features some of the greatest bands in the world of music from Ireland, Canada, and the USA linking traditional music with the modern world musical expressions. This festival attracts more than 5,000 music lovers from around the region.
In addition to its fame, the fact that the festival is taking place in the Ulster American Folk Park is adding to the experience. Given the significance of the park and its nice setting and adding to it the one of a kind musical experience, this is something you should definitely add to your list.
We know for sure that every county in the thirty-two counties around Ireland has its own individual significance which makes it unique in its own way. If you’re planning your visit to Ireland you need to make a list of the places you want to go and the things you want to do in each county to have a complete experience. But now, you know your first steps around County Tyrone and you can cross off your list! Follow our guide to the County, explore more and have your own adventure.
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